Saturday, August 26, 2017

Bill Crawford: The Generals' Coup

Seven Days in May, written by Fletcher Kneble and Charles Bailey and published in 1962, portrays a tense, nearly successful coup of American government by a cadre of senior generals. A quote on the cover of the paperback attributed to the Army Times said, “They say it can’t happen here, but if it does, it probably will be pretty much as Knebel and Bailey say.”

Wrong. Over 18 days in August three senior generals accomplished a coup peacefully, co-opting a volatile President and inexperienced Secretary of State.

On July 31, retired Marine four-star General John Kelly moved in as President Trump’s Chief of Staff. Over the first 18 days in August, he began consolidating his power, culminating in the ouster of the President’s closest advisor Steve Bannon.

Kelly’s rise gives him and two other generals extraordinary power in the Trump administration. Retired Marine four-star General Jim Mattis serves as Secretary of Defense. Active-duty three-star Army General H.R. McMaster serves as National Security Advisor. With Bannon’s ouster and no-one appointed to replace Kelly as Secretary of Homeland Security, these three now dominate military and national security policy decisions.

Business Insider discounts Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, saying there is “concern among some diplomats that he is not a major player in Trump’s national security team.”

“Connected by their faith in order and global norms, these military leaders are rapidly consolidating power throughout the executive branch as they counsel a volatile president,” said a Washington Post article.

In the novel, generals attempted a military coup to replace a president they saw as weak and misguided. Ironically, one of their concerns was their president’s willingness to trust Russia. Many experienced foreign policy experts see our current president as weak and misguided, and he wants to work with Russia.

The influence of the generals became clear last week when President Trump announced not only will the United States maintain its military presence in Afghanistan indefinitely but will send more troops and expand their role. Prior to that, Trump and Bannon were singing from the same song book – how many years must a failed war go on before it is allowed to end?

Until last week, Trump had called leaders “stupid” who wanted continued U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. Now, Vice President Pence is justifying expanded military operations and proclaiming opportunities for a "stable" and "prosperous" Afghanistan, talk reminiscent of another failed war, Vietnam.

A Reuters commentary said, “Bannon’s departure may have made Trump more likely to listen to his generals and dive more deeply into the Afghanistan mess.” Indeed, Bannon lost out and the generals took control, unlike Seven Days in May where patriots thwarted the generals’ coup.

Trump’s bellicose approach to North Korea, statements about intervening in Venezuela, hints he may pull out of the Iran nuclear accord, and, now, his flip-flop on Afghanistan feed concerns that the generals will push military force ahead of diplomacy.

Still and all, it’s too soon to say this coup puts warbringers in charge. Wise and cautious generals can be effective peacemakers. Pray for peace.

Crawford is syndicated columnist from Meridian (

Kingfish note: This column is a complete smear upon the military.  


Anonymous said...

I'm going to spend as much time responding to his article as he did preparing for it.....

Anonymous said...

TRUMP is doing just what we elected him to do....
And he is doing a hugely fantastic job...
Destroying the Republican Party!!
We are loving it!

Anonymous said...

Bannon was an advocate of contracting efforts in Afghanistan out, with Blackwater. He wasn't an advocate of pulling completely out of the country. Blackwater's track record in post-9/11 U.S. operations is terrible. Bannon deserved to be tossed into the street.

Anonymous said...

The Barbours and other RINOs whose only interest is PORK to lavish back home destroyed the Republican Party. Excluding the show votes Gregg Harper voted time and again with Obama and Pelosi. Trump has only lit the fuse on the time bomb the RINOs built.

But the Sandersons are damn happy.

Anonymous said...

What qualifies Bill Crawford to comment on anything? He's a failed politician. I don't understand why these stupid columns ever get printed. Anyone who reads Bill Crawford's columns will be dumber for having done so. Just complete idiocy.

Anonymous said...

Go back to ignoring Trump. This garbage shames you and your blog.

It's not a "coup" when Trump HIRED Kelly for COS.

Trump is a notorious coward who won't fire anyone to his face (hence his delight in playing the opposite on TV). He has Kelly doing the dirty work for him. Which is entirely proper for a COS.

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Anonymous said...

And Kingfish pays him by the page to submit them. When you answer the call for contributions, you're paying this clown.

Kingfish said...

Actually you little liar, Mr. Crawford does not charge money for his weekly column. Nice try.

Anonymous said...

3:33 if you actually expect anyone to believe those numbers as accurate you must be a faithful OM football blogger as well.

To say that MS Litigation - a really good site, btw - gets 20 times the viewership of the CL - granted, a really poor site, but... -,or that Northside Sun or Mississipp MOM gets ten times that of JJ, or Judge Primeoux gets nine times that of the SH -- is ridiculous. All these reports of pageviews are not reflective of viewership.

Anonymous said...

Trump will soon be gone. The generals will keep us safe until then. This was how it was done in the last days of Nixon when Alexander Haig was the de facto POTUS.

Anonymous said...

@5:41 PM = Lost in space

Anonymous said...

Rather than using a fictional example of the potential danger of too much power in the hands of the military, perhaps, Egypt's modern history would have been a better example. But, Mr. Crawford realized, I suspect, that you all would know the plot of fiction but not the details of the soico-economic consequences in a foreign country when the government is having trouble governing and the military is positioned to take control.

It might have been useful for Mr. Crawford to have quoted President Eisenhower as well or better yet, reprinted his whole speech. But, that would required a thoughtful audience as well.

I've no doubt that Kelly and Mattis and McMasters are honorable men and patriots. I have no doubt the generals who stepped in in Egypt were also honorable. It's how you go forward once that becomes necessary that is prickly and especially dangerous to a democratic republic.

1:28pm Trump did not HIRE Kelly, he appointed him. We the People pay Kelly's salary. I realize you don't see the difference, but Kelly's duty is not to Donald Trump or the GOP, but to our Nation and the office of the Presidency.

But, 1:28 pm, you nailed the problem. I won't try to explain to you why business and government are different but rather remind you ( since neither you nor our President seem to see that) that even in business when the corporation is large, the shareholders can oust the CEO if he is not running the operation well.

You can't run the U.S. government as you would a family owned business. But, I would suggest to you that even in a family owned business, if the head of the operation doesn't understand how his "widgets" are made and sold, if he's losing all but the most loyal customers, the business will fail. Indeed, his employees may just start their own widget business and see it as a favor to the customers! Get it now?

And, please the rest of you, your seizing on every article to vent about who you don't like politically or your fanatic support for a single human or group is useless and boring. You preach to the choir and the rest of us yawn. You gain nothing but ego soothing by having some tell you they agree. They agreed anyway.

Anonymous said...

Pity @8:24 AM who has spent lifetime struggling w/ personal and professional inadequacies.

Original African Mississippian said...

Hey 541, those numbers are rank, as in the lower your number, the higher your rank. You could also liken it to golf, where the lower numbers are better.

Anonymous said...

8:24 does not see how our government is more of a family owned business that he seems to realize. Look at all of the related politicians. Many of them only have experience being a politician like many of their families. If they had to stand on their own work they would never be elected.
Politics is a family business. Just look around.

Anonymous said...

9:03 am Your attack of the messenger ( the sign of a weak mind) is hysterically funny to me ( 8:24 am). I was able to retire with no loss of income long before 65 because of my accomplishments. How are you doing? ROFL,

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